Donnie Tillman - In this week's pet check we're talking with Doctor Sherry Siragusa of the Peoria County Veterinary Association about feline diabetes. How are you doing today?
Dr. Sherry Siragusa - I'm doing great.
Donnie Tillman - What exactly is diabetes and how does it affect cats?
Dr. Siragusa - Diabetes is actually the inability to produce any insulin at all, or limited quantities. There's two types. There's type one diabetes, which is you are insulin dependent which includes virtually all the dogs. And then there's type two diabetes which is your non insulin dependent diabetes which includes most of the kitties. Now don't let that mistake you that your cats don't need insulin. The cats still need insulin and stuff, but down the road there are some lucky cats that can actually get off their insulin altogether.
Donnie Tillman - So how is this diagnosed?
Dr. Siragusa - We typically diagnose feline diabetes through blood work. We would do a full chemistry c-b-c, urinalysis, specifically looking to see if there's any glucose in the urine and elevated blood sugar.
Donnie Tillman - If you are the owner what are some signs you should look for at home?
Dr. Siragusa - At home, you're going to actually see the pet will have a ravenous appetite. The pet will be really hungry. They'll also be urinating a lot, which means flooding the litter box. It gets really full. They also have increased thirst, which means some of the kitties will sit by the water bowl. They can become anorexic if left untreated. They can also end up losing alot of weight. They can end up in a coma or dead if you don't get them in.
Donnie Tillman - As far as treatments, there's obviously insulin, but how do you treat a cat when it's first diagnosed with diabetes?
Dr. Siragusa - If you diagnose it early, that's best, and we end up definitely doing insulin therapy which is twice a day insulin injections roughly twelve hours apart. Then, we will also do dietary modification. That is probably the most important thing. The main thing is the diet, getting them on the correct diet and doing the early insulin injections. There's a chance that, down the road, some of those cats can actually stop their insulin injections, but you want to make sure they continue on with the diet.
Donnie Tillman - Doctor Siragusa, we appreciate the tips. If you have any questions about your pet, visit your local veterinarian and tune in for next week's pet check.